Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (2):270-293 (2018)

Amanda Roth
State University of New York at Geneseo
In this paper I take up (what I call) the pregnancy loss objection to defenses of abortion that deny fetal moral status. Though versions of this objection have been put forth by others—particularly Lindsey Porter’s in a 2015 paper—I argue that the existing versions of the objection are unsuccessful in various ways: failing to explain the ground of moral considerability that would apply to embryos/fetuses in very early pregnancy, lack of clarity about what it means to take grief after miscarriage seriously, and implausible implications regarding pre-embryo and infertility cases. I go on to offer a more plausible version of the objection, which I apply only to mid-pregnancy and fetuses, by drawing on personal narratives of later pregnancy loss and abortion and emphasizing practices that indicate the relevant kind of mourning. I then take up the question of how experience of the sort I have in mind can function as evidence, by situating my version of the objection in a pragmatist ethical view. Finally I consider and respond to some worries about the very idea of taking experience of pregnancy loss to be evidence regarding fetal moral status.
Keywords pregnancy loss  fetal status  pragmatism  abortion  gradualism
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DOI 10.1111/josp.12234
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References found in this work BETA

A Defense of Abortion.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1971 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.
Abortion and Infanticide.Michael Tooley - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 2 (1):37-65.
After-Birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?Alberto Giubilini & Francesca Minerva - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (5):261-263.
The Evidence of Experience.Joan W. Scott - 1991 - Critical Inquiry 17 (4):773-797.

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Citations of this work BETA

Don't Risk Homicide: Abortion After 10 Weeks Gestation.Matthew Braddock - forthcoming - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.

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